Turkey should face its painful history

Turkey should face its painful history
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Pro-Kurdish HDP urged Turkish authorities to acknowledge the Pogrom of 6-7 September, 1955

Turkey should face the painful history of the Pogrom of 6-7 September, 1955, Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) said.

“Acknowledging this shame brought to life against the ancient peoples of this geography, revealing the perpetrators, identifying the loss of life and property, compensating the material and moral damages of the victims or their families, are essential to ensure the co-existence and equal citizenship in this country,” HDP said, marking the 67th anniversary of the pogrom targeting Christian and Jewish citizens in Turkey. 

“We will resolutely continue our struggle to avoid such sufferings again,” HDP’s Peoples and Faiths Commission co-chairs Tulay Hatimogullari and Turgut Oker said in a written statement published on Tuesday.

The pogrom started on the evening of Sept. 6, 1955 in Istanbul, triggered by a false report claiming that modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s birthplace in Thessaloniki, Greece was bombed. The mobs raided Greek, Armenian and Jewish districts, destroying, torching and looting homes, offices and non-Muslim worship places, schools and cemeteries. According to official reports, a total of 4,226 residents, 1,011 offices, 74 churches, eight sacred wells, one synagogue, two monasteries, 26 schools and three cemeteries, all belonging to Greek, Armenian and Jewish communities in Istanbul and Izmir, were subjected to the aggression. Many women were sexually assaulted, many people were severely beaten, and at least 10 citizens were killed overnight. 

“The pogrom is one of the black pages of our political history,” HDP said. 

Following the “great massacre”, tens of thousands of citizens had to leave the country due to the pressures and threats to their lives, HDP said and added that the real way of saying “never again” is to face this painful history. 

The pogrom was implemented as a state policy, “However, it has not yet officially condemned and no action has been taken for compensation or apology,” HDP said.